Using an air fryer is the latest craze when it comes to healthy cooking options. An air fryer is a multi-purpose kitchen gadget that is used to air fry, roast, bake, grill, crisp, dehydrate, and reheat dishes. It's simple to use, and once you have mastered it, you will be obsessed with air frying.
Generally, this kitchen gadget mimics the deep-frying process without all the oil and grease that comes with it. Instead, the air fryer fan circulates hot air at high speed, resulting in a crisp layer on the outside of your meal. Using an air fryer utilises significantly less energy than large ovens and cooks food in far less time.
Air fryers are very popular because they are less expensive, use less oil than conventional fryers, and heat food quickly and evenly. In addition, these devices operate faster than a convection oven and are significantly healthier than deep fryers.
Have you recently purchased a new air fryer? Then, let's go over everything you need to know about this multifunctional kitchen appliance in our comprehensive beginner's guide to air frying. Continue reading to find out everything there is to know about this kitchen gadget as well as the best air fryer recipes for beginners.
Before First Use
Our beginner's guide to air frying applies to most standard models. However, depending on the model, your machine may have differences or additional functions. When in doubt, consult the handbook. If you've misplaced the instruction guide that came with your appliance, you can find it on the manufacturer's website.
How to Turn on Air Fryer For the First Time
- Prior to using an air fryer for the first time, remove all the contents of the box. Don't worry if you notice a strong plastic smell - it will dissipate after a few uses. You can remove the wrappers, but it is best to keep the safety stickers on.
- Take the basket out of the appliance using the handle to remove the plastic packaging. Then, separate the inner basket from the outer basket using the basket release button.
- Place your air fryer on a flat, heat-resistant and sturdy surface. Furthermore, ensure that there is enough space around the kitchen gadget to draw out the basket or close the door. You might also need some space on top to reach the control panel. Most importantly, you need space for ventilation.
- When using an air fryer, do take note that its outer surface may heat up. Hence, do not place the vents against the wall as it may obstruct airflow. If you want to know how much ventilation area you need, read the air fryer instructions.
- You must clean and wash the air fryer before use to remove any smells. Use a non-abrasive, soft sponge to clean both baskets thoroughly. You can check your air fryer's instruction manual to see if the baskets are dishwasher safe. However, we recommend hand cleaning because the parts should be easy to clean.
- Wipe off the interior and outside of the basket with a moist cloth. To dry the basket, use a dry towel. Then put the basket back in the kitchen appliance.
How to Season Your Air Fryer
You must season your appliance before using an air fryer for the first time. This is in order to prevent food from sticking to the basket. To season, apply a spoonful of coconut oil all over the basket. Then pop the basket back in and let the air fryer run at about 204°C (400°F) for 5 minutes.
We think a test run is a good idea before using an air fryer for the first time for actual cooking. In addition, you will be assured that the appliance is operating correctly. This will make you more comfortable when using it in the future.
- First, you need to connect the power plug to the device. Ensure that the basket of the gadget is empty.
- Before you use an air fryer, it should be preheated for a few minutes. If your device has many functions, it should feature a preheating button. Otherwise, you'll need to manually preheat it for around five minutes at 204°C (400°F).
- When the appliance has finished preheating, it will beep to let you know. After that, take the basket out of the machine and leave it to cool for 5 minutes. Then, put the air fryer's empty basket back in.
- Check that the device is functioning correctly by setting the desired temperature and time. Note that your kitchen tool's coating is exposed to such high temperatures when you first start an air fryer. So, you may smell a plastic-like odour. It shouldn't be an issue after you use your appliance a few times. This is a relatively typical smell, and it should only bother you for a short while.
- The gadget will automatically shut off and make a beeping noise when the cooking time is up. You should then remove the basket using the handle and leave it to cool for 10 to 30 minutes. You now know how to set up and use an air fryer.
How Do You Use An Air Fryer For The First Time
When using an air fryer, you will still need to use oil, especially when cooking items that are typically deep-fried. However, you will need less oil than usual. The oil will give the dish a crisp texture. In addition, regularly tossing the food allows air to circulate and ensures that everything crisps and cooks evenly.
- Before using an air fryer, it must be preheated. This is so the food cooks more quickly and has a crispy exterior. You can preheat the device by simply pushing the preheat button. However, you will need to manually preheat small air fryers. Start an air fryer for five minutes at 204°C (400°F) for manual preheating.
- Afterwards, remove the appliance's basket and place the food in the basket. However, remember that the basket should not be overcrowded with food. If you overfill the basket, the food may not be adequately cooked when using an air fryer.
- Insert the device's basket into the air fryer after filling it. Then, set the right time and temperature. You can, however, adjust the duration and temperature during cooking. Once you have placed the basket, you need to press the start button to use an air fryer for cooking.
- During the cooking process, you must check often to ensure that the dish is neither overcooked nor burned. Mix the ingredients while or turn over the dish to ensure the meal is cooked through. The kitchen appliance will buzz when the cooking time is up.
- After that, remove the gadget's basket. But be cautious of the hot steam. Separate the inner and outer baskets and serve the meal. Make sure the basket is completely cool before cleaning. Read the air fryer instructions for more information.
How To Use An Air Fryer For Chicken
Depending on the size of your basket, you can fry a small whole chicken in about one hour. Allow 30 minutes per side at 190°C (370°F). Begin with the breast side down and rotate after 30 minutes.
You can also roast smaller chicken cuts like boneless chicken breast and thigh at 189°C (370°F) for about ten minutes per side, then turn and cook for another 4-5 minutes.
For bigger cuts like chicken leg quarter, bone-in chicken drumstick, bone-in thigh and bone-in chicken breast, you would need to roast them at 190°C (375°F) for 10-15 minutes on both sides.
Check the chicken frequently because smaller pieces tend to cook faster than larger portions. Moreover, you should also read the air fryer instruction manual because temperature and timing settings may differ between brands and models.
How To Use An Air Fryer For Fries
Cut potatoes and immerse them in cold water for 15 minutes for perfect fries. Then, wipe them dry and add the oil and seasoning you choose. Next, preheat to 190°C (390°F) and cook the fries for around 20 minutes, flipping them occasionally to ensure equal cooking.
However, if you want to use an air fryer for frozen fries, all you need to do is lightly coat with olive oil and season with salt to taste before air-frying for 10 minutes at 204°C (400°F). Then, give the basket a good shake and continue cooking for another 5-8 minutes or until done to your liking.
How To Preheat Your Airfryer
Many people overlook this crucial step when learning how to use an air fryer. Before using, you must preheat an air fryer like an oven. Don't skip this step, regardless of your gadget’s make or model.
In most situations, preheating helps them achieve the distinctive crispiness we all enjoy. Furthermore, preheating your kitchen device will minimise uneven cooking in your meal in addition to flavour and texture. If the air fryer isn't given a chance to preheat, you're more likely to have cold spots and overdone areas.
- For preheating instructions, first look at the air fryer guide for your kitchen device. Some models have a preheat setting button, which is incredibly useful. However, if your kitchen device has no preheating feature, you must manually preheat the oven.
- The ideal temperature to preheat this kitchen appliance is 204°C (400°F) for 5 minutes. However, this depends on the recipe itself. Hence, always recheck the recipe and ensure the device is set to the right temperature before using an air fryer for preheating. Also, remember that you don't need to take out the basket, and you don't need to add oil for preheating.
- Once everything has been set, you can start the air fryer. Our recommended preheating time for smaller air fryers is 2-3 minutes. However, we advise you to wait about 5 minutes for larger models. You will hear a beep once the preheating has been completed.
- Finally, once the allotted time has passed, place your meal inside and start the cooking process.
How To Reheat Food in An Air Fryer
You can use an air fryer to easily reheat food. It is really simple and better than using the microwave. When you reheat leftovers using this easy tool, they never become soggy or bland. Instead, they're nice and crisp. Reheating items in an air fryer typically takes only a few minutes.
When reheating, use a temperature approximately 30 degrees Celsius lower than the temperature at which you would air fry the food. However, look at your air fryer guide for further information on reheating food using this device.
As a rule of thumb, you can use these air fryer instructions to reheat food:
- Spray nonstick frying spray on the basket.
- Preheat the kitchen gadget to 350-400 degrees Fahrenheit, or 30 degrees Celsius lower than the recipe requires. Allow to preheat for about 4 to 5 minutes.
- Then, place the food you want to reheat into the basket. Leave to heat up for about 10 minutes (or until preferred).
Furthermore, you can also use an air fryer to reheat soup, stew, rice and pasta. You only need an oven-safe bowl that will fit within your air fryer basket. When reheating a particular food for the first time, check on it every 3 minutes to ensure it's cooked properly. This will keep the food from overcooking. Most importantly, remember not to overcrowd the basket.
However, remember that not all foods reheat nicely in this kitchen tool. Some items may still require reheating on the hob or in the microwave. Some of the best foods to reheat using an air fryer are meat, steak, fried foods like fries and onion rings, and breakfast foods like sausage and bacon.
Tips on How To Use An Air Fryer
Here are some of our main air fryer tips for beginners:
- It's okay to take the basket out and peek at your food when you use an air fryer. You can do this at any stage of the cooking process. The machine automatically turns off when you remove the basket, so you don't need to manually turn it off. However, make sure you fully insert the drawer to prevent any malfunctions. Your appliance will shut down if you do not insert the basket correctly.
- When taking out the basket, never hit the basket release button. This is because if you push the release button while holding the basket, it might fall. The inside basket of the device has a handle affixed to it, rather than the outside basket. Hence, your outer basket will drop when you press the release button on the basket. When you're ready, gently press the basket release button. Ensure the surface you plan to set it on is secure and heat-resistant.
- You must be mindful of the fat's smoke point when cooking greasy foods like bacon. For example, you would cook bacon at a lower temperature than the smoke point of bacon grease. This is in order to avoid smoking or burning. We recommend cooking bacon at 170°C (350°F).
- We suggest that you add a few tablespoons of water to the air fryer drawer when cooking fatty foods. This will help keep oil from burning and getting too hot.
- Do not overcrowd the basket when using an air fryer. Especially when you use frozen food air fryer recipes. While adding more food to reduce cooking time is pretty tempting, you'll find that cooking in smaller batches results in quicker and crispier food.
Top 10 Things To Cook In An Air Fryer
One of the best ways to use an air fryer is to make extra crunchy and crispy food. Additionally, you can use it to roast, bake, and create healthier versions of fried food.
There are plenty of recipes to try whilst using an air fryer, but here are some of our favourite choices. These recipes are tasty, quick and super easy, especially when you are using an air fryer for the first time.
- Spring Rolls
- Roast chicken
- Korean corn dog
- Hot pockets
- Salt and pepper tofu
- Chicken wings
- Crispy seaweed
What Cannot Be Cooked In Air Fryer
While there are plenty of recipes for you to try, you must also keep an eye on what cannot be cooked using an air fryer.
- Avoid wet batter - Wet batter does not set the way it’s supposed to when it is immersed in oil. The result is often a mess. The dish will also not get that crunchy shell you’re looking for.
- Food with sauce - When hot air circulates, hot liquids may splatter everywhere and could damage the device.
- Grains like rice and pasta - You cannot cook uncooked pasta in an air fryer because, like rice, pasta must be boiled in water. However, you can reheat rice and pasta using an air fryer.
- Leafy greens - You cannot use an air fryer to cook leafy greens because the machine uses high-speed air. If you leave it unattended, this will cause leafy greens like spinach to cook unevenly and burn quickly.
- Popcorn - This is tricky because while you can make popcorn using an air fryer, it can also damage the device. The high current produced by the fans can blow kernels all over the machine. Popcorn kernels can quickly become caught inside the heating element, causing your device to be short and posing a fire hazard.
Furthermore, for popcorn to pop properly, you need to reach between 200-240 degrees Celsius (400-460 degrees Fahrenheit). However, most of these appliances operate at temperatures between 180-200 degrees Celsius (350-400 degrees Fahrenheit).
Cleaning Your Air Fryer
When you use an air fryer, you must wash the drawer after each use. Please do not put off cleaning the air fryer's drawer because it is incredibly simple to do so. You risk contaminating your food if you don't wash it, and your kitchen will smell awful in a day or two.
Likewise, make sure to wash the basket and racks after using an air fryer. Although they may appear clean, grease can be hard to spot. Remove the frying chamber, basket, or tray, and wash with warm soapy water once the air fryer has cooled.
If your model has a splatter guard or a cover over the fan, you can remove it to clean it after you use an air fryer. We recommend thoroughly cleaning the removable splatter guard every few weeks by immersing it in hot water for 10 minutes before rinsing. Next, wipe the rest of the air fryer clean. Finally, allow everything to dry before reassembling and storing the air fryer.
When cleaning your kitchen device, avoid using abrasive products or scrubbers, and make sure the appliance is unplugged. While some machines have baskets and drawers that can be cleaned in the dishwasher, others require manual cleaning.
When cooking, you can make cleaning easier by using parchment paper, silicone basket and liner, or aluminium foil. However, make sure you read the air fryer instruction manual before placing any attachments in the dishwasher.
Furthermore, a filthy device will likely cause stale food and malfunction. Even worse, it might even start a kitchen fire. So, remember that good maintenance will extend the life of your kitchen appliance.
Why We Love Using An Air Fryer
We love using this cooking tool for a variety of reasons. The air fryer works similarly to a convection oven. They are small in size yet extremely efficient at cooking meals. Aside from frying, you can also roast, broil, and bake meals. Furthermore, this kitchen device enables you to prepare excellent, crispy foods using less oil than traditional frying methods.
As a result, these devices offer a better option for people who want to enjoy their favourite fried meals without the extra calories and fat. In addition, these devices are very versatile and allow you to cook a wide range of items, including chicken wings, veggies, and desserts. These kitchen devices allow you to eat your favourite dishes more healthily and conveniently.
There you go, our nifty beginner's guide to air frying! Now that you can make air fryer recipes like a pro, check out our Asian air fryer recipes for a delicious array of dishes.
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